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The London Independent Film Festival announces 2021 Edition



The London Independent Film Festival (LIFF) will celebrate its 18th annual edition in 2021 as it opens submissions from today. LIFF is devoted to the advancement of first and second-time filmmakers that tell captivating stories with limited budgets. The festival is hosted every spring at the Genesis cinema in London – frequently voted the best cinema in the UK.

When speaking about LIFF, Rebekah Louisa Smith, Film Festival Doctor, who works with filmmakers to create worldwide exposure for their films with an expert knowledge of festivals inside out, said, "LIFF is one of my favourite film festivals for several reasons; not only is it a festival which has great networking opportunities and fun parties, it’s also a festival which is incredibly supportive towards the selected filmmakers. Aside from the film festival team making everyone feel very welcome, they always ensured that my clients’ films secured a great screening slot, fantastic Q&A opportunities, and introduced them to valuable new connections.

"Our films have won an abundance of awards over the years which we are eternally grateful for. For myself and my team, what makes them great for us to work with behind-the-scenes, is that organising the deliverables and screenings is a joy as there is a stress-free system put in place for us to deliver our clients’ films to them. We will always submit our films to this festival and are very much looking forward to next year."



A number of LIFF alumni from the 2020 festival included filmmaker Jenna Suru, premiering her debut feature 'L'Âge d'Or' (The Golden Age). The film won the Best Female-Director Feature award. Reflecting on her win this week Suru said, “We enjoyed such a fantastic sold-out European Premiere of L'Âge d'Or last March at the opening night of LIFF. We are very happy for the film to have been awarded Best Female-Director Feature at the festival and couldn’t be any more thankful for all the wonderful reviews and feedback. Such magical times were spent with the audience & press. The Festival and Genesis cinema teams were fantastic and we couldn’t have dreamed of a better opening night.”


© Zara Balfour

Filmmakers Zara Balfour and Marcus Stephenson won Best Documentary in 2018 for 'Children of The Snow Land'. Looking back at the festival's 2018 Edition, Balfour highlighted that, “LIFF was our first festival win and it started us being noticed which led to many more festival screenings. This led to our distributor agreeing to release in UK cinemas and to Mastercard supporting the release and bringing over three of the film’s stars from Nepal. This resulted in more press interest and exposure, which led to us being featured on BBC News where we were the most watched story of the day. Subsequently we won the BIFA Raindance Discovery Award at the British Independent Film Awards.”

Balfour is now developing two new feature documentaries and will be directing a short drama film which has received funding from the Malta Film Commission. She has also set up a non-profit organisation, Snowland Journeys, to help the young people and communities featured in 'Children of The Snow Land' over the long term.



Hillary and Anna-Elizabeth Shakespeare - the Shakespeare Sisters - premiered their debut feature film 'Soundtrack To Sixteen' at LIFF 2019. The pair recently started a theatrical release for the film and are doing worldwide sales: “We’re so grateful to LIFF for an amazing first screening of Soundtrack To Sixteen. Not only was it an unforgettable night but as newcomers to the industry, the friends we made at the festival have become invaluable contacts. It was a great launch for Soundtrack to Sixteen that went on to have a small cinema run and a strong release in the UK.”


© Camelot Films

Dom Lenoir’s directorial debut feature 'Winter Ridge', which premiered at LIFF 2018 said, “Winter Ridge began its festival run at LIFF and won four awards over three budget categories, including the festival's coveted Best UK Film award. The film went on to win another 12 awards internationally, receiving high praise for its cinematic mini blockbuster feel, relevant themes and bold sound design from Oscar-winning sound designers Sound 24. The film is now available to watch on Sky, Amazon Prime, ITunes and various platforms like HULU in the USA.”

Lenoir is currently working as a director and producer on a variety of international features and TV. He also co-runs the popular MakeYourFilm Event. Having had 7 sell-out events in London, it offers in-depth insights to filmmakers about how to develop and create work. Guest panellists include a multitude of Oscar and Bafta-winning writers, directors and producers.

Filmmakers can now submit their feature or short films to the 2021 Edition of the London Independent Film Festival via FilmFreeway.

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